Dear friends in Christ,
A few days ago, I got home from a wonderful vacation in Iceland. It’s an extraordinarily beautiful country, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it.
When we got home, I looked around the house and wondered about all our stuff. We have so much! Shelves full of stuff. Closets full of stuff. Stuff everywhere! But for two weeks, I was perfectly happy living out of a carry-on suitcase.
So what’s the point of all that stuff, if I don’t need it to live happily? Paring down to a suitcase is surely extreme, but it did make me think.
And then, two Sundays ago, we heard the Gospel account of Jesus sending his followers out to do mission work carrying only a staff, with instructions not to take bread, money, a bag, or an extra tunic. Again and again, Jesus warns about the perils of material goods.
It’s not that material goods are evil. Indeed, God made the world from nothing. Matter is good. But our stuff can get in the way. We can end up possessed by our stuff rather than possessing our stuff.
When I grew up in Iowa, summer was the traditional time to have what we called garage sales (or yard sales, or tag sales, or rummage sales!). At our house, we’re talking about downsizing a little. Living out of a suitcase inspired us to think about what’s important and what’s not important.
What about you? Does your stuff help you love God and love your neighbors? Or does it get in the way?
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